12 behaviors that instantly make people feel comfortable around you

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You’ve undoubtedly experienced situations where you instantly felt comfortable around a person.

Can you remember why you felt that way?

Chances are, if you stop to think about it you’ll recall little things they did that made you feel totally at ease.

And you can incorporate those things into your interactions too.

In this article, we’ll look at 12 such behaviors you can put into practice that will immediately make people feel comfortable in your company:

1. Get them talking about their passions.

Have you ever seen a kid light up and start talking enthusiastically about a subject they love?

Perhaps they seemed like a quiet or shy kid at first and then started hyperventilating and telling you ALL THE THINGS they know about dinosaurs, horses, or the solar system.

This kind of impassioned obsession doesn’t solely exist in childhood—many adults are just as passionate about certain subjects, and will happily talk your ear off if you show sincere interest.

If you want to make someone feel immediately comfortable with you, find out what they love and ask them questions about it.

They’ll likely be an expert on the subject, and they’ll feel confident if they feel that they’re teaching you something.

Ask questions, show them you’re invested, and watch them light up the room.

2. Meet them on their level (literally).

One technique I learned long ago is to always meet people on their level.

This can be done in both a mental and shared interests way, but also via unspoken actions, such as body language.

If you’re talking to someone who’s sitting down, sit down next to them so you are literally at the same level.

This makes it clear to them that you see them as equal, rather than looming over them in a superior or dominating fashion.

As you may imagine, this is especially important when talking to children to put them at ease.

You can also do it to show respect and courtesy towards people who use mobility devices such as wheelchairs.

3. Find common ground.

I’ve traveled a lot and met a wide variety of people, and one thing that seems to put most people at ease is finding common ground.

Subjects like music, food, and movies are all safe bets, as most people have pretty solid preferences in these topics, yet won’t get offended or overly upset if you don’t share their specific tastes.

By discussing them, you open doors to more subjects that you may have in common, which leads to different thoughts, opinions, and stories about everyone’s experiences.

For instance, if you’re sharing a meal with someone and you find out that you both love olives, you can share an anecdote about an amazing vacation you had where you visited an olive grove.

They may reciprocate and tell you about experiences they had, and you end up chatting until dawn.

4. Share a little self-deprecating humor or funny anecdote.

People who can make fun of themselves are rare treasures indeed.

Think about how much fun you have with someone who can laugh at the fact they’ve split their trousers, or that their name rhymes with something funny.

Sharing self-deprecating humor or funny stories doesn’t just show vulnerability—it also shows that you’re a fun, relatable person who doesn’t take yourself too seriously.

Mentioning something funny or weird about yourself also makes you memorable.

“I’m Lucas, rhymes with mucus” will stick in their mind forever, trust me.

5. Gauge their vibe and work with it.

When it comes to your behavior or what you’re going to say to people, it’s important to ‘read the room’ by feeling the energy of the people you’re interacting with and working with it accordingly.

For example, if someone isn’t hugely chatty, but seems engaged and interested in what you have to say, don’t be afraid to do more of the talking.

They may have social anxiety that prevents them from being talkative with new people, but they still enjoy being invited into the conversation.

One approach to assess the situation is to compliment something they have or that they’re doing (rather than their appearance).

For example, you can mention that you really liked the book they’re carrying with them. If they say “Thanks” and then clam up, talk about some of the cool things you liked in the story, and ask if they can recommend a similar one.

Alternatively, if talking about it breaks through their quietness and they get chatty, mirror their energy and excitement about the characters, storyline, and so on.

6. Use warm, positive body language.

My way of dealing with the awkwardness of meeting new people is to treat everyone I meet like an old friend whom I simply haven’t seen for a while.

This bypasses a lot of the discomfort that may arise when dealing with strangers, new colleagues, or acquaintances who simply don’t know you very well yet.

For many people, body language speaks much louder than words in this regard, as people often cue into physical energy even more than anything that’s being said.

But it’s important to note, that not everyone uses body language in the same way.

Some people prefer to talk face-on, leaning in to show interest, with animated facial expressions, eye contact, and lots of gesticulation.

For others, however, communicating in this way is extremely uncomfortable and actually prevents them from being able to listen and communicate effectively.

For example, many autistic people are much more comfortable chatting side by side with minimal eye contact, whilst fidgeting with something, and they place more importance on the words being spoken than the facial expressions or gestures being made.

Don’t assume your way of communicating is the only valid way and that someone who communicates differently is rude or disinterested.

The key, as we talked about in the previous point, is to gauge the vibe of the person you are interacting with, and more importantly to be accepting and welcoming of it.

7. Show humility.

One of the best things you can do to make people immediately feel comfortable around you is to listen more than you speak.

Even more importantly, listen to what they’re saying without bragging or any kind of one-upmanship—even if you’re amazing at the thing they’re talking about.

In essence, let them take center stage instead of trying to outshine them.

This person might be incredibly proud of the fact that they managed to bench press 100lbs, especially if they’ve struggled with physical fitness all their life.

If you respond with something like, “I pressed 350 the other day, but that’s a good effort!”, you’ll deflate them. They’ll instantly feel inferior and may lose their enthusiasm for the pursuit they were so proud of 30 seconds ago.

Show humility, and let them bask in the shine of their achievements.

8. Offer compliments or words of encouragement.

This can put people at ease, but it’s important to tread lightly when it comes to the compliments you offer.

Avoid complimenting how they look as they might take that as flirting, and instead comment on something you appreciate, or that you know they’d take as encouragement.

For instance, if you notice that someone is drawing in a sketchbook, you can comment on how impressive their drawings are, and ask them about their talent.

Similarly, if they picked up something heavy with little to no effort, you could mention that they must be putting in a lot of work to build strength like that.

Compliments and encouragements like these help people feel that they’re seen, and their efforts are acknowledged, without any potential discomfort about the interaction.

9. Be mindful of nonverbal cues.

Some of the things we say or do might make others uncomfortable—not because we’re doing anything wrong per se, but because of their needs or sensitivities.

As such, it’s important to pay attention to their nonverbal cues.

For example, if you’re a naturally vivacious person who tends to speak loudly, and you notice that someone nearby is shrinking into themselves or wincing when you speak, that’s a cue to bring down the volume on your voice a bit.

Similarly, if someone seems a bit wary because you’re buzzing with energy and restlessness, try to relax and calm yourself.

Nervous or anxious energy tends to leak out and affect others. If you exhibit this type of energy, people will feel it on a subconscious level and may mirror that energy in turn.

In contrast, stillness, calmness, quiet strength, and serenity also pass on to other people.

Humans are very much ‘monkey see, monkey do’ in this regard.

If a toddler falls over and you smile and say, “Oh dear, up you get!”, rather than freaking out, they’ll be less likely to freak out. Similarly, if you’re relaxed and warmly serene, others may echo your behavior in turn.

10. Validate their thoughts and feelings.

A lot of people are wary of social situations because they’ve been insulted or mocked in the past.

As such, they either refrain from sharing their views and feelings or instantly go on the defensive because they expect to be attacked for what they’ve said.

You can put people at ease immediately by validating their ideas and feelings, even if you don’t agree with them.

That doesn’t mean you need to suppress your thoughts or opinions if they’re different from the other person’s. Instead, you simply acknowledge that you can agree to disagree and defend your stance without being rude or condemning.

11. Let them be themselves.

Although it’s the last on this list, it’s one of the most important behaviors because it shows absolute acceptance of another person’s choices or traits, rather than the expectation that they should change themselves to better suit your preferences.

You wouldn’t believe how quickly people open up and bloom in your company if they realize they can be their authentic selves with you instead of having to pretend to be something they’re not.

For example, if your friend has a passion for geology, don’t sigh with exasperation every time they stop to admire a rock when you’re out together. Instead, let them know you respect their interests by asking questions or pointing out interesting-looking rocks yourself. 

Similarly, if your partner collects toys that you think are ridiculous, don’t criticize them. Just acknowledge that they love them for whatever reason and perhaps even surprise them with one of them as a gift now and then.

The simplest way to phrase this is: let people enjoy the things they love.

They’ll be a lot more comfortable in your company if they feel you aren’t mocking (either outwardly or inwardly) the things they love.


You don’t have to utilize all these behaviors in your day-to-day life.

But if you keep them as tools in your ‘human interactions’ toolbelt, then you can pull them out whenever they’re needed.

Remember, each person you meet is going to react differently to you based on their traits, needs, and life experiences.

Using a one-size-fits-all approach is not going to make people feel comfortable. To make the most out of every interaction you have, tailor your approach to suit, you, them, and the situation you’re in.

If we all took the time and effort to do this, the world would be a much more friendly and welcoming place.

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About The Author

Finn Robinson has spent the past few decades travelling the globe and honing his skills in bodywork, holistic health, and environmental stewardship. In his role as a personal trainer and fitness coach, he’s acted as an informal counselor to clients and friends alike, drawing upon his own life experience as well as his studies in both Eastern and Western philosophies. For him, every day is an opportunity to be of service to others in the hope of sowing seeds for a better world.